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mance in his Effay on the Sublime and Beautiful. Notwithstanding he appears to have read the poets with all the enthufiafm of a warm imagination, yet it does not appear that he ever invoked the Mufes. At one time, it is faid, he could repeat all Young's Night Thoughts by rote; in a copy of this work, which he ufed to carry in his pocket, the two following lines in his hand-writing were found fome years fince on a blank leaf.
"Jove claim'd the verfe old Homer fung,
Several of his witticifms have been repeated by his schoolfellows, but as they are all unworthy of fo great a genius, even in bud, we fhall pafs them over, with this fingle observation, that the fhafts of his wit were not always winged with the feather of a dove. His filial piety was truly exemplary, and his affection for Mr. Shackelton, his mafter, was evinced on many occafions. When the good old man vifited him in London, he received him as a father, introduced him to many of his friends, particularly to Mr. Benjamin Weft, the painter of pofterity, and what is ftill greater, one of the best of men. He alfo mentioned him with great respect and veneration in one of his fpeeches on the Teft A&t. Having paffed a proper time at Balitore Academy, he was transplanted to Trinity College, Dublin, as may appear from the following tranfcription from the admiffion book of that univerfity:
1743, April 14, Edmundus Burke, Pens. filius Johannis Gen. annum agens 16, natus Dublinii, educatus fub ferulâ M. Shakelton. Tut. D. Pellifier."
Elected a scholar of the House 26th of May, 1746, commenced A. B. 23d February, 1747-8. He does not appear to have been elected a native.*
*This term, in the Irish Univerfity, is applied to a ftudent, who, having obtained a scholarship, is entitled to an annual stipend after a certain ftanding.
Doctor M. Kearney, fenior Fellow of the Univer fity, fhone as the rival of Mr. Burke, in every clafs of the college course. The ftricteft friendship, however, fubfifted between them, and when feparated, they continued to correfpond with each other till within a few weeks of Mr. Burke's diffolution.
Mr. Burke's father was an attorney, of fome eminence in his profeffion, very highly refpected for the integrity of his character. Having completed his academic ftudies, it is faid that he offered himself as a candidate to fill the moral chair in the University of Glasgow, vacant by the death of his countryman Mr. Hutchefon. Mr. Reid, however, was raised to that fituation, which induced Mr. Burke to turn his attention to the bar. For this purpose he came to London, and entered his name on the books of the Middle Temple. What a tranfition! he that had devoted the moft charming feafon of life in culling the fairest flowers of imagination, in tracing the pleafing labyrinths of fcience, to be obliged to wafte the midnight oil in poring over Coke on Lyttleton. He was not, however, to be difmayed; the entrance was barren and rugged, but it promifed a golden harveft, and ambition was not the least of Mr. Burke's paffions. With fuch eagerness did he fit down to these new ftudies, that fometimes he almoft "forgot himself to ftone." His conftitution was not equal to the talk. His health began to decline; he was advifed to confult his frient and countryman, Doctor Nugent, who had practifed many years with great fuccefs at Bath. The Doctor was fo benevolent a man, that it is faid of him by thofe who knew him beft, that if he had the misfortune to lofe a patient, he felt as if he had loft a child. In addition to this, he was fo highly charmed with the converfation and opening talents of Mr. Burke, that he was refolved, if poffible, to preferve them to the world. For this purpose, he afligued him apartments in his own houfe, where he
treated him with all the affection of an indulgent parent. Mifs Nugent, the Doctor's only daughter, evinced, by her attention, how deeply fhe was interested in the recovery of his health, and what at first affumed the name of friendship, changed into that of love. In fhort, Mr. Burke was made happy in the poffeffion of a hand that beftowed at the fame time one of the gentleft of hearts.
His ftudies became more diverfified, and the fuccefs of fome pens induced him to turn his attention to fome work that might raife his fame as a writer. His fuccefs in this line was equal, nay, fuperior to his expectation, but he foon found that "fondnefs of fame was avarice of air," in confequence of which he procured a letter of introduction to the late Earl of Bath, the Mecænas of the day. His Lordfhip received him with the utmost politenefs, lamented that it was not in his power to render him any fervice, as he was no longer in power. The impreffion which this unexpected intelligence made on Mr. Burke did not escape his Lordfhip's eye; he felt for the fituation of the young man, and after a paufe, "I will give you a letter, faid he, to the Earl of Bute, though I don't know that I am entitled to take that liberty." The propofition revived Mr. Burke's drooping fpirits, and he waited, without lofs of time, on Lord Bute, who profeffed his forrow that it was likewife out of his power to render him any fervice, as he had refigned all his employments that very morning, adding, that his influence with his Majefty was greatly over-rated; anxious, however, that a man of genius and talent fhould not pine in the fhade, he would take one ftep, he faid, which he did not know he ought to take, but he would venture, and if crowned with fuccefs, it would yield him great pleasure. As Lord Halifax had been appointed to affume the vice-regal government of Ireland, perhaps in that fituation, he would be able to render Mr. Burke fome fervice in his native country. The Earl accordingly wrote to
Lord Halifax, and recommended the bearer of it as a man of promifing genius, who would reflect honour on his patronage and protection. The new appointed Viceroy expreffed the deepest regret that every department in his appointment, except that of private fecretary to his own fecretary was filled up. Mr. Burke was accordingly appointed private fecretary to the Right Hon. Gerard Hamilton, commonly called Single Speech Hamilton, in confequence of his having made only one speech in the House of Commons during all the time that he fat in Parlia- Buton pü ment, but which has ever been confidered as an effort of unprecedented talent, and is thought to have been compofed by the fubject of thefe memoirs.
Having now curforily traced Mr. Burke to his firft debût on the great theatre of public life (in which it was allowed on all fides that he played his part with great applaufe) we fhall introduce him in another character, not fo fplendid, undoubtedly, but still more amiable. Having contracted an early acquaint-. ance with a Mr. Michael Smith, a country fchoolmafter, it ripened into mutual friendship. Several letters paffed between them; the following is a copy of one which Mr. Burke addreffed to him, foon after his arrival in London. Mr. Smith, it appears, taught the Greek and Roman claffics at this time in the parish of Fenagh, in the county of Leitrim.
MY DEAR MICHAEL,
"Mr. Balf was fo very kind as to deliver me your friendly epiftle about half an hour ago. I read it over, bleft the firft inventor of letters, and as I have plenty of ink, pens, and paper, and as this is one of my holidays, I intend to dedicate it to friendship. -Balzac having once efcaped from a company, where he found it neceffary to weigh every word that he uttered, chanced to meet a friend, "Come," faid he to him, "let us retire to fome place where we can converse freely together, and commit as many folecifms as we please.' I need not tell you
plication. You'll expect fome fhort account of my journey to this great city; to tell you the truth, I made very few remarks as I rolled along, for my mind was occupied with many thoughts, and my eyes often filled with tears when I reflected on all the dear friends I left behind; yet the profpects could not fail to attract the attention of the moft indifferent; country feats fprinkled round on every fide, fome in the modern tafte, others in the ftile of old de Coverley Hall, all fmiling on the neat, but humble cottage. Every village as gay and compact as a beehive, refounding with the bufy hum of industry, and inns like palaces. What a contraft between our poor country, where you'll fcarce find a cottage ornamented with a chimney. But what pleafed me most of all was the progress of agriculture, my favourite ftudy, and my favourite purfuit, if Providence had bleffed me with a few paternal acres. A defcription
of London and its nations would fill a volume. The
buildings are very fine, it may be called the fink of vice, but her hofpitals and charitable inftitutions, whofe turrets pierce the fkies, like fo many electrical conductors, avert the very wrath of Hea.. ven. The inhabitants may be divided into two claffes, the undoers and the undone, generally fo, I fay, for I am perfuaded there are many men of honefty and women of virtue in every street. An Englishman is cold and diftant at firft; he is very cautious even in forming an acquaintance, he must know you well before he enters into friendship with you, but if he does, he is not the first to diffolve that facred band; in fhort, a real Englishman is one that performs more than he promises; in company he is rather filent, extremely prudent in his expreffions, even in politics, his favourite topic. The women are not quite fo referved; they confult their glaffes to the greatest advantage, and as nature is very liberal in her gifts to their perfons, and even mind, it is not eafy for a young man to efcape their glances, or to fhut his